species: Comaster schlegelii in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Comaster schlegelii

©Anne Hoggett: A small specimen showing a common colour form Comaster schlegelii at Watsons Bay, Lizard Island.

©Photo Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett

©Barbara Banks: Comaster schlegelii at Lizard island
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Comaster
Species Comaster schlegelii



Distinguishing features

Comatulids are distinguised from all other featherstar families by having terminal segments of the oral pinnules modified to form a comb. They also have a distinctive "feel" due to well developed hooks on most pinnules that cause them to cling like velcro.

Comaster schlegelii has numerous robust arms, a good ring of cirri and a smooth, flat dorsal proximal area. This species is rarely found far from the reef crest. Individuals sequester themselves firmly within the reef, making it impossible to see the underside without dislodging the animal.

This species is usually quite brightly coloured although the colours vary widely. A common colour combination is green with white, black and orange on arms and pinnules, with orange cirri. Other combinations are green proximally and bright yellow distally, and black with bright orange pinnule tips. There are no large areas of white or pink on the proximal brachials which helps to distinguish it from its congeners.


  • Size data has not been obtained.

Depth range

  • From 0 m to 4 m



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Comaster schlegelii is usually found entwined within branching corals.

This species is common throughout the Lizard Island Group and is generally restricted to water shallower than about 4 m.

Web resources